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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pete's posting

Hi all, I'm posting this for Pete because his account is somehow cursed.  This does happen in cyberspace sometimes.  I myself have terrible technology karma.

In the words of Pete (verbatim):
When I said that I want to start over, I really meant it.  I mean, we can’t go back to March, and we have other plans for summer, but I can’t go forward as if this meeting never happened, and I don’t agree with Linda’s “we’re finished”.  I’m not finished.  I have a relationship with Kathryn and English that needs attention.  This wounded conflict is underpinning what we’re trying to do.  Furthermore, it also represents the foundation of what we stand for – that is working together in trust.  We can list a number of things that need to be done such as setting a schedule and recruiting freshmen, and I agree that this needs to be done.  However, the fact that English and possibly Math don’t trust us is an ongoing discussion that I feel compelled to continue.  Questions for Kathryn, Ginger, English, anyone else.  Do you want to trust Engineering, other departments?  Do you want to work on this?  What would you like to see happen? Is there any structure that could be put in place that would help this?  What metrics could we use to measure progress?  Did you like the idea of a writing requirement for a physics lab?  I am concerned that isolating English in the curriculum will identify it as something less important – do you have this concern?  What could we do about it?  Could we aim fall quarter to reassess where we are for Spring Quarter to consider if English and/or Math would like to (not be willing to, but would like to) join the “flock”?


  1. Pete--

    I want to chime in about the involvement and interest of the English department. I think it's important for our group to understand that when Katherine speaks about the English department, she is referring to the tenure track faculty--the body of deciders in our department. The teachers who would teach the courses that Sustain needs are actually not tenure track faculty and so not a part of this group--that is, Introductory writing courses are taught by Lecturers. Decisions about departmental interests and the green light for departmental involvement are made by tenure track faculty members. I think it would be easy to confuse the question of whether or not there are writing teachers (besides just me) who would find the idea and inspiration of Sustain as an exciting venue for teaching students to write with the question of whether or not the english department believes that Sustain is a safe program to align with. I believe that we would have an easy enough time finding excited writing teachers. The bigger questions that Kathryn is raising about assessment and protecting learning outcomes and such are not decisions that Lecturers are able to participate in (well, we can surely participate in the discussion, of course, but I mean that we don't have a vote as Lecturers in the ultimate decision.) I just want to clarify this because I can understand that it would be very confusing if you were not a member of our department.

  2. Also--Kathryn, please do feel free to chime in here on the way that I have explained this. I am admittedly offering the explanation from a Lecturer's point of view and only want to do so to clarify our group's take on the English department's stated hesitancy.

  3. Okay, I have a question about our program, when we hire a lecturer, we hire them because we have full confidence that they are competent to make the decisions needed for students' mastery of the material. Although we share the learning objectives (that is what they are hired to achieve with the students), we don't really ever decide for them classroom level issues like assessment or pedagogy. We expect that they will handle this in the way that is best for them. Is that different for English? Maybe this is a question for Kathryn.